Little known Jean Paul Shyirambere emerged victorious at the Never Again Karate tournament that was held this Sunday the 22nd April in commemoration of karate players as well as lovers of the sport that died in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Jean Paul who hails from Christ Loi club won it in boys’ senior Kumite event with Alain Paul and Rutayisire Jules finishing as first and second runners-up respectively. In the Kata event Twajamahoro displayed some splendid moves that saw him walk away with the first position ahead of Munyeshyaka and Kumi Saidi.
In the girls’ senior Kumite event, Mukagakwerere finished first with Mutuyimana Providence finishing second ahead of her compatriot Kabera Rehema while in Kata event Paula, Aisha and Oliver finished first, second and third respectively.
The tournament which had drawn 18 clubs from all corners of the country is held annually to remember and honor victims of the 1994 Genocide, and help young karate players to learn the culture of peace.
Umukino.com approached national captain of the team Semakula Muhammed who was also a participant at the event and said that this year’s tournament was even more special because they had invited a karate club all the way from Canada that would do some demonstrations as well. But as they say, all that starts well does not necessarily end well. There was a moment of brief panic as one player went down and collapsed during a Kumite event. He was stretched off and given the necessary medical care although that was the end of the competitive road for him.
The tournament was supposed to kick off at nine O’clock, but was delayed momentarily as clubs took long to arrive and register on time. And a glance in the packed Petit Stade Amahoro was enough to tell the importance of this tournament. The excitement, the euphoria and the criss-crossing of people in the hall emphatically underlined that the sport has fully flourished to a satisfactory national level.
Time flew by quickly and in the evening as winners were called upon to receive their medals, cheers and ululation were in the air as those who lost inevitably looked on in envy. Apart from the medals winners also received each a brand new kit of kimono, the typical uniform worn by karate players.